Retiring Assemb.Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) is sending out a "Dear friends" letter Monday endorsing Democrat Todd Kaminsky to succeed him. A primary race is expected for the 20th District seat, with Weisenberg declining to seek re-election after 25 years in office.
As an assistant U.S. attorney until recently, Kaminsky "investigated and successfully prosecuted some of the worst criminals around, including former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada," Weisenberg states. He also hails Kaminsky as "an advocate for local causes" who has deep roots in Long Beach.
"Now he's ready to put his experience, determination and smarts to work for us in Albany," Weisenberg writes. Kaminsky said he's honored that Weisenberg "would trust me to continue his legacy of community advocacy and fighting for people."
Long Beach Councilman Anthony Eramo, a Verizon field technician and member of the Communications Workers of America whose home was heavily damaged in superstorm Sandy, is considering a bid for the seat.
Also mentioned in Democratic circles as a potential primary candidate is Asher Mansdorf, a Lawrence school district member. When contacted, he noted he's a friend of David Sussman, a Republican who got 44 percent of the vote in 2012 against Weisenberg. Mansdorf said he plans to discuss the matter with Sussman after the school board election May 20. Sussman hasn't announced if he will run again for Assembly.
Republican officials have yet to publicly discuss possible candidates for the district, which has 39,429 enrolled Democrats, 31,748 Republicans and 20,499 unaffiliated voters. In 2010, Weisenberg defeated Republican challenger Joshua Wanderman by only 2,127 votes.
PATH TO NOWHERE: First the bridge scandal shone light on how the Port Authority does business, leading various political and transportation experts to weigh in. Last month, New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management cited big deficits run up by the authority's PATH trains. That was followed by a report from the Citizens Budget Commission suggesting a takeover of the lines by New Jersey Transit to end the drain.
Such a move could liberate funds for, say, the authority's Queens airports. But transfer of PATH's ownership sounds unlikely.
Not only are legal and union issues involved, but systems that lose $400 million a year don't attract eager takers.